The founder of a controversial zoo where hundreds of animals died has announced he has shelved his plans to open a horse riding centre in Wasdale.

David Gill, who ran the former South Lakes Wild Animal Park at Dalton from 1994 to 2017, had submitted a planning application to the Lake District National Park Authority under the name David Rivera for permission to offer horse riding and carriage drives from his Windsor Farm.

It came two years after an application to renew Mr Gill’s zoo licence two years ago was rejected followng a report from inspectors that revealed nearly 500 animals had died on site in four years.

But in a post of Facebook this morning, Mr Gill revealed that his plans to open the riding centre were being shelved for health reasons.

He said: "It is with great regret and deep sadness that due to unforeseen health circumstances Wasdale Riding Centre will no longer be opening in May.

"It has been exciting preparing and getting ready for the adventure but we now must make the decision not to open as a business for the foreseeable future.

"All forward bookings will be contacted regarding your deposits. Thank you for your support throughout. Life's circumstance changes in seconds and we have no control over it."